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If You Build It They Will Come...

There's a froggy in my garden

There’s a froggy in my garden

I love the new RSPB ad on the telly at the moment. The message is simple; if we don’t make a home for nature there will be no nature. It is sad that in 2013 there is still so much short sightedness where nature and wildlife are concerned. Fortunately there are many organizations and individuals who are dedicated to protecting wildlife and making a ‘home’ for nature. Wildlife gardening is an easy way to provide sanctuary for all manner of creatures, from woodlice to hedgehogs.

The great thing about it too is that you don’t need to have acres and acres of land. A simple flower box filled with nectar rich flowers will attract bumblebees and butterflies to your garden. An upturned bin lid or washing up bowl will provide a wonderful habitat for frogs, newts and dragonflies. Wildlife gardening is also relatively fuss-free in that the less you disturb your garden the better. Forget fancy topiary and well-manicured lawns – this is definitely my kind of gardening! Plus there is nothing quite as rewarding as looking out the window to see wildlife happily going about it’s business.

For the past 3-years I have entered the Kent Wildlife Gardening Award Scheme. When I first applied I really had no idea what I was doing. To be honest I still don’t, but every day I learn a little bit more. My first year I remember talking to the Kent Wildlife volunteer who came out to assess my garden. I told her that eventually I wanted to have a garden big enough for a pond as I really wanted to create a habitat for dragonflies, frogs and newts. Her words, “what are you waiting for?!”, still ring in my ears. She gave me the tip about filling the base of a large flowerpot with water and putting it in a place where it would be undisturbed. The area next to my little greenhouse seemed perfect.

Within months I noticed a little frog sitting in the middle of it. This year I have put another flowerpot base down and within days a young frog was spotted sitting on the rim. It really is true what the new RSPB ad says: If you build it they will come! Please consider giving a home to nature in your garden, our wildlife really needs all the help it can get.

Here are some great websites to help you start gardening for wildlife.


Kent Wildlife Trust

Natural England





Either side of my greenhouse seemed like the ideal place to put my makeshift ponds. It is well protected by plants such as Virginia Creeper and Borage.  



Froggy close upHere is a close up of one of the frogs in my garden. I actually have no idea how many frogs there are but I have seen at least 3 of varying sizes. As far as I know this is a common frog.


If you haven’t seen the new RSPB ad campaign here it is (it always makes a little weepy…)


Showing Kindness To Snails: Let Them Eat Beans!...

As I went out into the garden this morning I spied a few snails happily munching away on my beans. My basil, which is finally doing well, was also under threat from a wee baby snail.

Most gardeners would think I am crazy but I actually don’t want to harm the snails. To be honest though I also don’t really want them eating all the beans or terrorising my basil.

As a kitchen witch it’s important for me to find a balanced solution. Killing them just because they are eating my plants doesn’t feel right to me. After all they are only doing what is natural to them.

So when I see them on my plants I pluck them off and move them much further down the garden. This morning one snail was so engrossed in eating a bean that I cut the bean off the stalk so he could finish his breakfast.

I actually love watching the snails. I find them very restful and they are also quite amazing little creatures. While they are welcome in my garden it’s important that we have an ‘understanding’ about things. For the most part they do leave my plants alone but every so often I catch 1 or 2 having a sneaky snack and that’s when I have to take them on a journey to the end of the garden!

Beltane Celebration: Get Out In Nature And Don’t...

Despite the dark gloomy clouds and bouts of torrential rain we had in most parts of the UK we still managed to have a wonderful Beltane weekend. Beltane is the Celtic festival of fire and light and it is celebrated on April 30th – May 1st.

It’s a wonderful time of year. The days are lengthening, flowers and plants are starting to blossom and bloom, butterflies and bees are making an appearance in the garden and everyone has a slight spring in their step.

One of the best ways to celebrate this time of year is to get outside in nature. Whether it’s a walk around the block, a 10 mile hike, a visit to your local park or even just pottering around in your garden, make the effort to get out doors. This weekend I stayed away from my computer and spent as much time as I could (rain permitting) in the garden.

We sowed some seeds, Rocket (Arugula) which is a wonderful peppery salad leaf and some Genovese Basil. My mouth is already watering in anticipation of a Mozzarella, Tomato and Basil Salad. The pots are all lined up in our little greenhouse and we hope to see some spouting soon.

Last year we bought some herbs from our local farmers market and they have really taken off. I have really enjoyed being able to cook with fresh Sage, Rosemary, Lemon Thyme and Tarragon. This year we decided to add a few more herbs to our garden; Coriander, Curly Parsley and Apple Mint. Although we had problems previously growing tomatoes and chillies we thought we’d have a go at some sugar snap peas. Our not so very green fingers are crossed!

Beltane is also a very special time for working with Fairies. There are many things you can do to honour them and show your commitment to nature:

• Look into recycling schemes.
• Support animal and environmental charities.
• Buy more organic produce.
• If you’re in a park or on a hike and you see some litter then (if it isn’t too disgusting) pick it up and dispose of it properly.
• Give away unwanted clothing and goods to charity.
• Use gentler more natural cleaners in the home instead of harsh scary chemicals.

Perhaps one of the easiest ways to honour the Fairies and to celebrate this wonderful time of year is to get off the couch, get away from the computer or television and go outside! You may also want to leave a little treat for Nature’s Angels as a thank you for all their hard work.

For the Garden Fairies I like to put out seeds (sunflower and pumpkin are good) as well as chopped fruit (apples, pears, plums, blackberries and blueberries). For my House Fairy I like to leave out some milk and honey or mead as well as something sweet like organic chocolate, cookies or cake. If you have an animal companion please make sure they can’t get at any Fairy Treats you leave out, chocolate is toxic to many animals but especially to dogs.

The leaving of a gift is a lovely way to acknowledge the Fairies and thank them for their continual help in watching over your garden and plants, protecting your home and animal companions, and to celebrate the beauty and abundance of nature. Breathe some fresh air, listen to the birds and don’t forget the Fairies!

Fairy and Violets

Sage, Lemon Thyme, Rosemary and Tarragon

The Kent Coast: Fresh Sea Food By The Sea Side....

It’s been a long difficult winter for us here in the UK and this weekend when the sun finally came out many people like myself took advantage and headed for the sea side. The English sea side is truly an amazing place; pebbly beaches, penny arcades, ‘Mr Whippy’ ice cream cones and of course fish, chips and mushy peas.

One of the most wonderful stretches of coast line is the Kent coast. Although I haven’t had the opportunity to explore all of it, I do enjoy the walk from Herne Bay down to Whitstable. Just make sure to cover up with sun screen and a hat – the breeze coming in off the water easily takes away the heat of the sun and you don’t realize until too late that you are burning. It’s hard to believe the English sun can be so strong!

My walk began at Herne Bay, which has a pier full of penny arcades – a great place to get rid of a few 1p and 2p coins and maybe even win a prize! There are also plenty of fish and chip shops. Just the thought of a portion of chips wrapped in paper and generously covered with salt and vinegar is enough to get my mouth watering. Chips are actually pretty healthy (ok minus the generous sprinkling of salt) and they are a good way to fuel up for the long but scenic walk to Whitstable.

A pretty little town, Whitstable has a fantastic fish market where you can get all sorts of fresh fish and sea food. The market sells little tubs of cockles, winkles, prawns, crab claws and roll mops which you can tuck into right away. You can also buy freshly grilled mackerel in a whole wheat roll which is delicious, especially with the addition of tomato butter. Then of course there are the oysters. Served on paper plates with ice and fresh lemon wedges, you can pay a little bit extra to have them opened on the spot (I definitely recommend this option). Honestly I was never very sure about oysters, but once I tried them on the beach accompanied by a pint of local ale (raspberry wheat beer), I was well and truly hooked!

A big part of being a kitchen witch is making sure to take time and reconnect with nature on a daily basis. Usually I will go for a walk or potter around in my garden but when I get the chance, I love my trips to the sea side. The cool salty sea breeze, rolling waves and wide open spaces refresh and energize me. It’s a real joy to see excited dogs running into the water, kids with pails and shovels digging up treasure and sea gulls swooping and diving. Despite this abundance of activity the sea side is a great place to relax, unwind and really connect with nature.

For those of you in the UK I urge you to make time to appreciate the wonderful coast lines we have in this country – our sea side truly is a magical place. For those of you planning a trip to the UK, make sure you include a trip to the sea side, you won’t regret it!

Whitstable Oysters and Crab Claws

Whitstable Kent Beach Huts

Welcome to my Kitchen Witchery Blog! Recipes, Hous...

Hello everyone and thank you for taking the time to check out my new blog.

It is my pleasure to share with you some of my favourite recipes and household tips. Let’s have fun and bring the sacred into our everyday tasks! Yes  – even cooking and cleaning can be fun!